Life in a Startup

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Life in a Startup

  • I am in a start up consultancy and have been in other start ups.  A common challenge faced by start ups is when initial business is with the founders network of contacts.  The founders are so involved in the mechanics of the business that they struggle to build the network of contacts from which the next tranche of work will come.  If they don't get past that hurdle the business will fail.

    I would advise anyone working for a start up to have a plan B.  Keep reviewing your CV and more frequently than you would in an established business.  I'd also say that startups are an excellent opportunity to learn the business and market.  In larger companies I have experienced the attitude of "you are just an IT person, you won't understand this concept".   A startup needs you to gain that deeper and broader concept.

    I've not experienced people being precious about work boundaries.  We've all been generalists with specialisms.  We have had to work across boundaries and actually encourage each other to do so if only to have a sounding board (rubber duck) for our thoughts when we face a stubborn problem.

  • I think this possibility needs to be examined in light of the status of your own career.  Are YOU in a startup position relative to your future?  I'm assuming that lots of startup companies might not be in a position or be inclined to consider YOUR future relative to your retirement.  During my career one of my considerations became the effect of job selection on my future AFTER my career.

    After I switched to IT I worked at eight different companies that varied largely in size.  The first three companies had no retirement plans whatsoever.  The fourth employer was the one that got me started by having a profit-sharing retirement benefit.  At that time I was 31 years old, so retirement had taken second place to career advancement.  The succeeding five companies did have various retirement benefits, either profit-sharing, bonus, IRA contributions, or 401K plans.   At one company I would have been required to wait two years before I could participate even in 401k contributions.  That requirement was negotiated away so I could begin the 401k contribution and match on the first day.

    I'm now 81 years old, retired at 67, and can pretty well guarantee that your retirement plans become very important as you progress through your career.  Betting on a startup late in your career may or may not be a good decision, but you need to think about it and be sure it is good for your future.

    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • All the drawbacks previously mentioned about startups are valid concerns. The drawbacks must be given serious consideration, especially if you have a family depending on your income and your time.

    The strongest appeal of a startup, in my opinion, has not been mentioned. It's the thrill of doing something that has never been done before. It's very exhilarating to realize you are the first person/company to pull it off.

    My career began when PCs (microcomputers) were still in a nascent state, and doing new things with them was extremely exciting for me. I spent the first 20 years of my career in several different startups. I specifically looked for such opportunities.

    The rest of my career involved SQL Server, mostly in established companies. I enjoyed working with SQL Server, especially when doing greenfield work (which is relatively rare). However, I continued to look for ways to engage my passion for doing something that has never been done before, even if not with a startup.

    Creator of SQLFacts, a free suite of tools for SQL Server database professionals.

  • One other thing about startups:

    In many established (large) companies, it often does not matter how good you are or how bad you are. It seems to matter more how visible you are. This is particularly true for SQL Server professionals, who generally operate in the background.

    In a startup (or any small company), for better or worse, you will be noticed. This is true even for SQL Server professionals, because their work is foundational for the business. If you are confident in your ability to deliver, and you desire to have an impact, then a startup may be right for you.

    Creator of SQLFacts, a free suite of tools for SQL Server database professionals.

  • Wingenious wrote:

    In many established (large) companies, it often does not matter how good you are or how bad you are. It seems to matter more how visible you are.

    Really important life lesson here.  The people who get promoted are good at being visible and being visible is an intersection of the  soft skills, self-confidence and technical competence.

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